AGA to induct 4 new members to Casino Gaming Hall of Fame

AGA announces upcoming Casino Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inductees.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is among the world’s foremost authorities on the casino gambling industry. Promoting best business practices and social responsibility, the organization’s efforts are recognized by gambling operations from all reaches of the globe.

Each year, the AGA recognizes the most creative, innovative and industry-changing individuals whose contributions have helped to build, strengthen and improve casinos worldwide. Comparable to the sports industry’s baseball and football halls of fame, only the most esteemed members of the gambling community make their way into the AGA’s Casino Gaming Hall of Fame.

Casino Gaming Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Yesterday, the organization announced its Class of 2017, naming four upcoming inductees. Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the AGA, described them as “quite special in the unique ways they shaped the casino-gaming industry.”

This year’s inductees include Diana Bennett, John Breeding, Joe Kaminkow and Melvin Wolzinger. The induction will take place at a by-invitation-only ceremony at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas on October 4, 2017.

Diana Bennett AGA Casino Gaming Hall of Fame 2017

Diana Bennett – Casino Manager & Philanthropist

Bennett started her career at the Flamingo in Las Vegas before joining her father, the legendary William Bennett, at Circus Circus. Her endeavors include the development of numerous iconic brands, like the Excalibur and Luxor in Las Vegas, and the River Cree Resort and Casino and Parq Vancouver in Canada, to name a few.

Along the way, Diana dipped her fingers into computerized gaming systems as the President of Casino Data Systems. That company was acquired by Australian slots manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure in 2001.

She now runs the Bennett Family Foundation, a charitable organization that supplies grants to youth groups, women’s organizations, education, health, and more.

John Breeding AGA Casino Gaming Hall of Fame 2017

John Breeding – Founder of Shuffle Master

A truck driver by trade, Breeding entered the casino gaming industry in 1983. Fascinated by blackjack card counters, he got the idea to develop the first automatic card-shuffling machine. He called it the Shuffle Master, and although it didn’t strike gold until 1992, it led to his founding of Shuffle Master Entertainment.

Breeding’s company went on to develop everything from chip-sorting machines for roulette tables, to wholly electronic table games, and eventually digital tables game for online casinos. He is also responsible for inventing the popular table game known as Let It Ride.

Joe Kaminkow AGA Casino Gaming Hall of Fame 2017

Joe Kaminkow – Pioneer of Pop Culture Slots

Joe Kaminkow is best known as the pioneer of pop culture gambling. He was responsible for bringing many of the most popular on-screen icons to the slots reels. His most recognized creation was the Wheel of Fortune Slot in the 1990s. It’s now available in more than two dozen varieties across land-based and online casinos.

Throughout the years, Kaminkow brought many famous movies, TV shows, game shows and celebrity artists onto the casino gaming floor. Some of his more recent releases include Sex and the City, Game of Thrones and Britney Spears slot machines.

Melvin Wolzinger AGA Casino Gaming Hall of Fame 2017

Melvin Wolzinger – ‘Founder of Las Vegas’

Now 96 years of age, Melvin Wolzinger is reputed as one of the founding fathers of Las Vegas. After retiring from the Air Force in 1946, he moved to Las Vegas to become a slot route operator. In 1962, he opened Ernie’s Bar on Rancho Drive, practically founding the north end of Vegas. That neighborhood now thrives with casinos like Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho.

Wolzinger has continued to influence Las Vegas casino gaming ever since. He was a key investor in the Golden Nugget and spent almost 40 years on the board of Mirage Resorts/MGM Resorts.

Melvin manages his finances well, and ensures others benefit from his wealth. His philanthropic nature includes mass donations to non-profit organizations, often revolving around education and athletics in the Jewish community.

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